Finding Inner Peace

ross bishopFinding inner peace can be difficult. We meditate, do yoga, read books, go to workshops, learn mantras, hang affirmations on our refrigerators and yet we remain troubled. What are we missing? Is it just that we are not sufficiently spiritual? Are we not doing it right? That is how it feels much of the time.

Years ago I learned about spirituality through Zen meditation. I sat morning and evening, religiously (if you will pardon the pun), seven days a week, at least twice a day. I got calm, my breathing deepened and the world slowed down as I began to focus on what was really important in life. My friends noticed the changes occurring in me. I went deep. I touched a place of inner peace and calm I had no idea even existed.

Bliss? Hardly. It scared the heck out of me! I had to quit for a while. I had never known that level of openness and feeling that vulnerable shook me to my core. It would be some time before I had the courage to go that deeply or feel that vulnerable again. Fortunately, the experience planted something so deep and powerful in me that I could not ignore. I had to pursue it. So here I am, 30 years later, eternally grateful for an experience that literally scared the daylights out of me. But the fear I experienced then is the same fear that keeps most people from finding inner peace today… continue article

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How Life Works

by Ross Bishop
Before we proceed, we need to make two things clear:First, you are here to learn to love everything (especially yourself), freely and openly. That is the only reason you are here.

Second, anything not directly connected to the first point may be real, but it is not relevant (unless it brings a lesson relating to the first point).

It’s not that things like houses, money and success aren’t real, but they have little bearing on why you are here. You allow yourself to get caught up in the events of life – paying bills, getting the kids through school, dealing with medical issues, etc. and avoid (temporarily) the reasons you have come. But daily life does surface unresolved ego issues, so it is useful.

In many ways life is like a child’s sandbox. Happenings there can seem important – castles are built, empires are created and lost, dragons slain; but other than lessons learned – like playing together and sharing – events within the sandbox have no real meaning in the outside world. Your life is probably like that. The things you worry about have little eternal significance other than they illustrate your unwillingness to love.

You spend most of your time focused on earthly concerns because they are less challenging than the things The Universe asks of you. We pretty much ignore or at least shove those aside. You don’t want to challenge your feelings of unworthiness or self doubt because you fear that somehow they might prove to be true. And you don’t want to rake that risk. Even though these things cannot possibly be true, you fear them. So we clog the channels with worries about “stuff” instead.

The sadhus of India shun worldly possessions because it makes finding the truth more straightforward. A sandal maker in Chiapas or a beggar in Benares may actually have a better chance at reaching the light because their lives are built around spirituality and their minds aren’t clogged with concerns about “stuff”. Of course you must put food on the table and a roof over your head, but unfortunately your attachment to materialistic things goes well beyond that.

You can ignore life’s larger lessons – for a time. But The Universe is persistent. When you defer or ignore, it ups the ante and brings the lesson around again. So dealing with your stuff today, although it may be challenging, is a great deal easier than being backed into a corner later.

If you persist in ignoring the urgings of The Universe you move into the realm of disease. Facing the threat of death is a great eye opener for most people. It finally forces them to get off the pot. In case you have forgotten, that was the great lesson for Scrooge in Dicken’s, A Christmas Carol. That’s also why there are ministers at hospitals.

The question is, “Are you listening to your life?” Are you looking at the bumps in the road as obstacles – as judgements on your worth – or as opportunities for growth? Are you responding with love and compassion to the challenges life throws your way (especially towards yourself), or are you choosing to be angry at God and ignore or rationalize away your lessons?

When things fall apart – as they must, how will you react? Will you lash out at others (or yourself) with blame, anger and resentment, or will you introspectively look at what The Universe has brought you and grow from it? Remember in the Old Testament, “a satan” was merely an obstacle to a person’s growth. It was only later that St. Paul transformed satan into the Devil.

Put very simply, will you make the changes life is asking of you? Will you confront the false beliefs of your unworthiness and live in the truth?

Consider: what are the lessons about love that you can take from this day? What is The Universe asking of you in this moment? More compassion, especially toward yourself? . . . What are your kids or your partner trying to tell you? Are you growing? Changing? Or are you stuck in a rut? If you persist in staying the same, expect to get blown out of the rut. That’s the way The Universe works.

“Every person that enters your life offers you a lesson that needs to be learned. This doesn’t mean they are going to remain in your life and guide you forever, but there’s usually a logical reason why you two crossed paths. It could be to put you in your place, help you overcome an obstacle, break you in order to rebuild yourself or show you there is more to life than you have ever imagined. . .
Allow this person to do their job and teach what you need to learn. Once they are finished, and if they have nothing further to offer you, then their task is complete. You can now move on to your next teacher to learn your next lesson.
Everyone you meet in life is a learning experience. Take what they have to offer and soak it in. Knowledge is powerful. Never stop learning.”
copyright©Blue Lotus Press 2014

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